Why could I be unsuitable for laser eye surgery?

Posted on

22 July 2021

Author: Kate Green

unsuitable for lasik

Am I a candidate for LASIK or LASEK?


One of the most important parts of your laser eye surgery journey is ensuring that you are suitable for treatment. This is something we check on your first consultation with us, long before we have a surgeon assess your eyes and book you in for treatment.


At your first consultation, we perform a range of scans and checks to ensure that your eyes are healthy and that you would benefit from treatment. None of the tests we perform involve physical contact with your eye.


What tests do I need before laser eye surgery?


Pupillometry: Your pupil size will be measured in dark conditions to determine your risk of developing glare after treatment. This measurement is used to programme the laser settings.

Refraction: Your prescription will be measured and compared with your prescription history and auto refraction results. This is to ensure your prescription is accurate and stable.

Wavefront Diagnostic: Your individual optical characteristics will be measured and analysed to assess the need for Wavefront treatment. The data is used to programme the laser.

Visual Acuity Testing: Your sharpness of vision will be measured with and without glasses correction at near and far distances.

Slit Lamp Exam: Your eyes will be examined using a microscope and a narrow beam of light to detect eye disease.

Tonometry: Your internal eye pressure (IOP) will be measured to ensure that you are not suffering from raised internal eye pressure (the cause of glaucoma).

See also  Vision and Safe Night Driving

Pachymetry: Our diagnostic equipment will examine the dimensions of the cornea and how it varies across the eye. It will also measure the distance between your cornea (the outer surface) and the lens within your eye.

Retinal Exam: Using drops to dilate your pupils, a detailed assessment will be performed to ensure that your retinas are healthy.

Autorefraction: Your eyes will be tested using an auto-refractor to measure your prescription.

Focimetry: Your current glasses will be measured to determine the strength of your current prescription.


What would make me unsuitable for laser eye surgery?


First and foremost, your prescription is the main thing we use to determine your suitability for laser eye surgery. This table shows our treatment parameters for both LASIK and LASEK.



If you have a stronger prescription, it may be that you are most suitable for ICL treatment. Read more about Implantable Contact Lenses here.


Your age may also affect your suitability. We only treat patients over the age of 18 and patients under the age of 45 tend to be most suitable for laser eye surgery. After that, you may find that you’re more suitable for lens surgery as this can help eliminate the need for reading glasses and prevent the formation of cataracts later in life.


We also require all patients to have had a stable prescription for at least a year to minimise the risk of your prescription changing following surgery and affecting your visual result. The younger you are, the more likely your prescription is to change, which is why we have a minimum age requirement. We want you to have a great visual result after surgery just as much as you do and, if that means coming back to Optimax in a year or two once your prescription is more stable, then that’s what we’ll recommend.

See also  The Importance Of Sports Eye Safety


Some other conditions could also affect your suitability for treatment, including:

  • Blepharitis (eye infections) − your eyes need to be clear of infection
  • Increased internal eye pressure − eye pressure needs to be under control
  • Dry eyes, epilepsy, MS − depending on the status of the condition
  • Diabetes − OK if well-controlled with healthy retinas
  • Very large pupils with a high prescription
  • Your prescription is low (under 0.75) and you do not have astigmatism
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding please wait three months after weaning before coming in for a consultation.


You are unlikely to be suitable if you have:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis, SLE, lupus
  • Keratoconus
  • Macular degeneration
  • Crohn’s or collagen disease
  • Blindness in one eye or partial sightedness
  • Glaucoma
  • Herpes of the eye
  • Iritis
  • Corneal dystrophy
  • A squint or prism which is not corrected by contact lenses


However, everything depends on your individual eye health and we can only determine this at a consultation in person. Thankfully, our consultations are free! We just require a small deposit (£10 on a weekday or £30 for a Saturday) to hold the appointment, which is refunded to you immediately afterwards, regardless of whether or not you proceed to treatment.


To find out if you’re suitable for laser eye surgery, refractive lens exchange, or implantable contact lens treatment, give us a call on 0800 093 1110 or book in online. We look forward to helping you achieve the vision you deserve!

Back to Blog